Shiso (Perilla frutescens)
Shiso is a Japanese herb from the mint family, it is known by several other names including perilla, beefsteak plant, Chinese basil and purple mint. There are three variations of colour: green, red/purple and bi-colour (green and purple).
Shiso grow guide
Shiso grows fast, rapidly building height to about 100cm and throwing out abundant leaves, it passes to flower in late summer before dying with the first frost.
Growing shiso is straightforward and rewarding. If you can grow basil you can grow shiso as the requirements are the same. In the garden plant into free-draining, moist soil once all risk of frost has passed, aim for exposure to full or partial sun. In a pot use standard compost and if available, mix in composted bark. Mulch will help in both scenarios, as leaves are more succulent when the soil is kept moist.
Harvest leaves, growing tips and flowers throughout the season. The more growing tips you pinch out the bushier your plant will remain.
Remove and dry all leaves before the first frost and store for adding to sauces, soups and stews like any other herb. Leaves, either dried or fresh, make an excellent tea. The tea made from purple and bi-colour leaves starts blue before turning dark purple as the colour seeps into the hot water. For an iced tea, pour from the pot over ice and add a dash of lemon or yuzu juice to turn the tea bright pink and wonderfully refreshing.